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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Open discussion on the first draft work programme of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition

Samantha Chivers
Samantha Chivers1000 DaysUnited States of America

Dear Christine, 

Please see below the submission to the open discussion from 1,000 Days in Washington, D.C. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. 

Best, 

Sam

 

1. Does the work programme present a compelling vision for enabling strategic interaction and mutual support across existing initiatives, platforms, forums and programmes, given the stipulation of Res 70/259 that the Decade should be organized with existing institutions and available resources?

The work programme provides a basic framework for organising action across the UN agencies, as well as providing strategic opportunity for donor and high-burden countries to take action against malnutrition. However, without either a dedicated funding stream, institutional space and staff, or compulsory actions for members, the initiative does not provide a compelling vision for action.

As a coordinating mechanism, the Decade will not have a lot of power. Without dedicated funding, the vision presented here is primarily a monitoring one, not an active or advocacy one, so does not reflect the urgency in which the world must invest in nutrition to achieve the WHA targets.

Unfortunately, we believe that the roles and responsibilities remain vague, accountability issues are not addressed in detail, and the ‘how’ remains to be detailed. In order to enable strategic interaction, there is a need to have more of a focus on resource mobilisation, more concrete outlines of specific actions, timelines/time commitments and next steps.

A welcome addition would be more country-specificity outlining a focus on high-burden countries and awareness of differences between locations in terms of how to tackle malnutrition in all its forms.

2. What are your general comments to help strengthen the presented elements of the first draft work programme of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition?

3. How could this draft work programme be improved to promote collective action to achieve the transformational change called for by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the ICN2 outcomes? What is missing?

To 1,000 Days, the goal is to integrate nutrition as a cross-cutting issue into the work of all UN agencies, but how to do that is not clearly enumerated in this workplan. One way to do that would be to require UN agencies to implement nutrition (-sensitive) indicators into related programming.

Related, this work plan sets out to accomplish a lot in the next 10 years, with very little guidance on how to stay on track. This is problematic to reaching the goals laid out, but also to suggesting any urgency of action. Having annual goals as benchmarks to periodically measure success against throughout the Decade would reflect its progress.

We also question the level of ambition to member states only achieving ‘one or more’ of the nutrition targets, or ‘one or more’ of the ICN2 recommendations, as this will not hit the 2030 targets. Commitments should not be voluntary, as this is unambitious and not SMART enough - clear time-bound targets and commitments over the next two years are needed, with review and follow up hereafter.

Reports to the UN coordinating bodies (WHA, UNGA) are biennial, not annual. That doesn’t provide many opportunities for information from a “decade” of action; in fact, perhaps only three or four reports will be provided by the end of the decade, after the platform is fully implemented. A lack of annual focus also does not provide a lot of impetus for countries to move quickly and thus, to achieve results. We understand that progress in changing malnutrition plans will take time, and there may not be too much progress to report each year, but small victories, including the development of costed plans and the uptake of policies in high-burden countries, is a victory and should be celebrated. Annual reports would provide a more compelling vision for all actors.

Having a clearer remit to promote integrated action between nutrition and other nutrition-related sectors such as WASH.

Table 2 seems incomplete, without specific timelines and details of activities and responsibilities. There is also a lack of what the intended impact/outcome would be for the secretariat’s activities (besides ‘convening member states’ etc.). We therefore urge the Secretariat to finalise Table 2 in conversation with member states and civil society actors to act as a work plan for the period April 2016-April 2018.

The range of action areas is broad but relevant to the issue.

The communications aspect seems well designed and ready to implement.

4. Do you feel you can contribute to the success of the Nutrition Decade or align yourself with the proposed range of action areas?

1,000 Days is the leading NGO that advocates for action and investment in child malnutrition. As such, our advocacy work aligns with several action areas of the UN Decade of Action. We are also the secretariat for the International Coalition for Advocacy on Nutrition (ICAN). As such, we are managing ICAN’s response to the Decade of Action, in both advocacy and communications. As both 1,000 Days and ICAN representatives, we are willing to share advocacy goals and targets, and use and support accountability mechanisms. We are also willing to review and participate in shared creative work as part of campaigns, and are very interested in working directly with UN leaders to co-develop campaigns as a CSO partner.

5. Do you have specific comments on the section on accountability and shared learning?

A database can be a great tool for monitoring, accountability and advocacy, provided it is kept up to date and with strong institutional support and separate earmarked funding. Specifics of where such earmarked funding would come from would be a welcome addition. ICAN believes that the reporting to UN coordinating bodies, such as UNGA and WHA, should be done on an annual basis, not biannually, to have annual goals as benchmarks to monitor progress and success, create a sense of urgency and ensure achievements are made within the Decade’s existence. Commitments by governments are only encouraged as voluntary and not required - and all reporting done through self-assessments – which will lead to issues of accountability. There is a clear need to outline whether and how this information will be verified.